£4.3m Wayne and Coleen Rooney court case adjourned suddenly

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The Independent Online

A court case in which Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen are being sued for £4.3 million was abruptly adjourned today.

David Gill, chief executive of Rooney's football club Manchester United, and Paul Stretford, the player's business agent, were at the court as both were scheduled to give evidence today.

But shortly after a meeting of lawyers with the judge before proceedings began in open court, the case was adjourned until tomorrow without further explanation.

It has led to press speculation that a deal between the parties may be thrashed out to prevent Rooney and his wife having to give evidence later in the week at Manchester Mercantile Court.

The couple are said to owe £4.3 million in the form of commission payments to Proactive, a sports management company which agreed lucrative sponsorship deals with major companies on their behalf.

The firm got commission of up to 20% on multimillion-pound contracts signed by the Rooneys to endorse firms such as Nike and Coca-Cola.

But the firm's "primary point of contact" to the couple was Mr Stretford, the footballer's long-standing agent and a former director of Proactive.

When he left the firm acrimoniously in October 2008, he refused to authorise further payments of commission, amounting to £4.3 million.

Ian Mill QC, representing Proactive, told the court last week the firm was left with no option but to sue the Rooneys to get the money it is alleged it is owed.

The case was adjourned until tomorrow morning.